Riverside: City Goes After Medical Marijuana Delivery Services

Discussion in 'Marijuana News' started by xdog, Jun 13, 2013.

  1. \tWith storefront-style dispensaries shuttered, Riverside seeks to stop pot delivery services
    The Inland Empire Patients Health and Wellness Center on Main Street in Riverside closed May 6, the day the California Supreme Court upheld a city's right to ban medical marijuana dispensaries. Riverside officials now are targeting mobile dispensaries, which weren't covered by existing rules.
    Arranging home delivery of medical marijuana may have been as easy as phoning for pizza up to now, but Riverside officials want to put a stop to those special deliveries.
    Last month the California Supreme Court upheld cities' rights to ban storefront marijuana dispensaries, and last week Riverside officials announced that all dispensaries they knew of had shut their doors.
    But the ban in the city zoning code didn't address mobile dispensaries, and that's where Riverside attorneys say operators of some now-closed brick and mortar locations have put their efforts following the court ruling.
    “The studies have shown that the increase (in delivery services) has been found to coincide with successful enforcement actions” against storefronts, Riverside Deputy City Attorney Neil Okazaki told council members Tuesday, June 11, shortly before they approved an emergency ban on mobile marijuana dispensaries.
    One attorney who represents about 40 Inland-area marijuana collectives can attest to that shift. James De Aguilera said Wednesday that among his clients, “I think everybody's either gone mobile or is in the process of going mobile” since the court upheld Riverside's ban.
    However, he added, there's “not a word about mobile dispensing” in the recent Supreme Court decision, and he doesn't believe Riverside can ban it.
    Riverside first banned storefront dispensaries in 2007 and began aggressive legal enforcement two years later. Since 2010, a total of 75 dispensaries in the city have closed, Okazaki told the council - but a new frontier of delivery services has opened.
    Citing the website Weedmaps.com, Okazaki said the number of mobile dispensaries within 20 miles of Riverside has jumped from more than 30 last March to more than 50 at the end of May.
    A customer who used Green Closet Deliveries commented on Weedmaps.com on June 9: “This was my first time using a delivery service and was it as easy as ordering pizza,” a comparison Okazaki also made in his presentation.
    But delivery drivers have been the targets of armed robberies, including one Riverside case in January, Okazaki said, adding, “These are issues that are moving from storefronts right into residential neighborhoods.”
    Several residents said they thought city officials were overstating the danger of delivery services.
    Pizza drivers and liquor stores get robbed too, so it's unreasonable to single out marijuana delivery, Sean Eberhart told the council.
    “I don't know if there's a legal channel left for me to access my medication,” Eberhart said.
    Robert Newham, who identified himself as a Vietnam War veteran who worked in law enforcement, also urged the council to reconsider.
    “I'm not a pothead, I'm not an addict,” he said. “I agree those dispensaries were ugly, but they're gone now, so you're going to take away the only thing we have left.”
    Citing worries of running afoul of federal drug laws, council members voted Tuesday to adopt an emergency ban on mobile marijuana dispensaries that took effect immediately.
    City officials gave no details at Tuesday's meeting about how the ban would be enforced, but Police Chief Sergio Diaz said Wednesday that the department likely would take action when mobile services are brought to its attention through advertising, for example, and when there are victims of a crime.
    De Aguilera said he considers the delivery service ban “an overreach” by the city and that he will defend his clients if the city takes legal action against them. As long as they're following state rules that govern medical marijuana collectives, members who grow marijuana can legally deliver it to members who need it, he said.
    Also, the state vehicle code “preempts the city from interfering with deliveries, whether it's Coors (beer) trucks or Godfathers pizza or medical marijuana,” De Aguilera said.
    An employee of Mobile Green Alternatives, a delivery-only service that started in 2009 and serves western Riverside and San Bernardino counties, suggested the city might have to carry out sting operations to be able to catch drivers.
    Jon, who declined to give his last name in light of the city's new ban, said drivers for his service don't have a sign or logo on their cars, largely for their own safety.
    If the city asks his service not to deliver in Riverside, it would comply, Jon said, but overall “I don't feel like they're really going to be able to enforce it.”

  2. Fucking sickening...from the outside looking in..it sounds like last ditch efforts ever since the NOV elections..under the guise of protecting the children and moral fiber of their communities.
    Is going after dispensaries the new hot topic for politician in Cali now until the presidential elections start up again?
  3. Prohibition is deeper than just within the feds,,they have bought support from law enforcement with their grant money and seizure laws that enhance law enforcement's ability to spend more money to make more drug busts,,it is a self feeding cancer. City council members listen to their police before any other group except mmj supporting members,,,removal of prohibition will require removal of prohibition supporting politicians,,including DA's,Sheriffs and city council members,,,it is time for some political shouting matches.

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